Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 947–955 | Cite as

Low-level laser therapy (808 nm) contributes to muscle regeneration and prevents fibrosis in rat tibialis anterior muscle after cryolesion

  • Lívia Assis
  • Ana Iochabel Soares MorettiEmail author
  • Thalita Balsamo Abrahão
  • Heraldo Possolo de Souza
  • Michael R Hamblin
  • Nivaldo Antonio Parizotto
Original Article


Muscle regeneration is a complex phenomenon, involving replacement of damaged fibers by new muscle fibers. During this process, there is a tendency to form scar tissue or fibrosis by deposition of collagen that could be detrimental to muscle function. New therapies that could regulate fibrosis and favor muscle regeneration would be important for physical therapy. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been studied for clinical treatment of skeletal muscle injuries and disorders, even though the molecular and cellular mechanisms have not yet been clarified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of LLLT on molecular markers involved in muscle fibrosis and regeneration after cryolesion of the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle in rats. Sixty Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups: control, injured TA muscle without LLLT, injured TA muscle treated with LLLT. The injured region was irradiated daily for four consecutive days, starting immediately after the lesion using an AlGaAs laser (808 nm, 30 mW, 180 J/cm2; 3.8 W/cm2, 1.4 J). The animals were sacrificed on the fourth day after injury. LLLT significantly reduced the lesion percentage area in the injured muscle (p < 0.05), increased mRNA levels of the transcription factors MyoD and myogenin (p < 0.01) and the pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (p < 0.01). Moreover, LLLT decreased the expression of the profibrotic transforming growth factor TGF-β mRNA (p < 0.01) and reduced type I collagen deposition (p < 0.01). These results suggest that LLLT could be an effective therapeutic approach for promoting skeletal muscle regeneration while preventing tissue fibrosis after muscle injury.


LLLT Muscle cryolesion Muscle regeneration MRFs Growth factors 



We acknowledge CAPES, CNPQ and FAPESP for financial support. MR Hamblin was supported by NIH (grant R01AI050875). Emergency Medicine Division (LIM 51), Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo to provide technical support in biochemical and molecular biology analyses and NUPEN (Núcleo de Pesquisa e Ensino em Fototerapia nas Ciências da Saúde) for supporting and calibrating the laser equipment.

Disclosure of interests

The authors indicate no potential conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lívia Assis
    • 1
  • Ana Iochabel Soares Moretti
    • 2
    • 3
    • 8
    Email author
  • Thalita Balsamo Abrahão
    • 4
  • Heraldo Possolo de Souza
    • 2
  • Michael R Hamblin
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Nivaldo Antonio Parizotto
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Electrothermophototherapy, Department of PhysiotherapyFederal University of São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.Emergency Medicine Division, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Post-Graduate Health Sciences ProgramInstituto de Assistência Médica ao Servidor Público Estadual—IAMSPESão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratory of Vascular Biology, Department of Cardiopneumology, Heart Institute, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.Wellman Center for PhotomedicineMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  6. 6.Department of DermatologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  7. 7.Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  8. 8.Emergency Medicine Division, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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